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GCC industrial sector takes a giant step forward: EIB

posted on 04/08/2004: 657 views

Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, are striving to establish strong economic and trade ties with various countries and economic blocs of the world with the aim of developing the GCC's non-oil economic sectors and opening new areas of export for Gulf commodities. A report carried by the Emirates Industrial Bank, EIB, August bulletin said that the GCC states have signed various agreements with Lebanon and would soon sign a number of free trade agreements with China, which is now the number one trade partner of some of the six GCC member states.

Individually, some of the GCC states would soon be signing free zone agreements with a number of countries of the world, including the one to be signed between the US and Bahrain, while negotiations are at advanced stage for the signing of similar agreement between the United States on the one hand and Kuwait and Qatar on the other hand. The report said this approach matches with the current global economic developments which is rapidly moving towards free trade of commodities and services within the framework of the World Trade Organisation, WTO.

This, the report added, would greatly facilitate the integration of the GCC member states in the new world trade order, on the one hand, and develop their foreign trade sectors as well as boost trade between member states and other WTO members states, on the other. The report said that the foreign trade sector of member states have significantly developed in the past years, particularly the United Arab Emirate, which is now undisputedly a business hub in the Gulf and Middle East region.

The report said total foreign trade of GCC states, both the oil and the non-oil sectors, have surged by 28.2 per cent over the past six years at an annual rate of 4.7 per cent. This rise include a 31.7 per cent rise in export at an annual rate of 5.3 per cent, the report said, adding that the rise in oil prices had contributed in the growth of GCC export, including a rise in the prices of oil, petrochemical and aluminium products, that form about 60 per cent of the non-oil export of member states. In the case of import, the report show that it had also surged by 22.9 per cent between 1997 to 2003, representing an annual growth of 3.8 per cent. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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